Author: Ms. Kim Shellenberger of HCFA
In response to inquiries about sources of Free or Low Cost Medical Care and Free Prescription Drugs in Masssachusetts, Frosina is pleased to make the following information available to Albanian and other newcomers:
Health Care for All
1. FREE CARE PROGRAM
The Free Care Program pays the hospital or community health center for all or part of the costs of giving medical services if a person cannot pay. However, it does not pay for services such as private doctor’s bills, prescription drugs, lab tests, and some operations. Most public and private hospitals participate in the Free Care Program.
If a person needs free care, he/she must request it by asking the hospital or health center for an application. People will be asked about their incomes and number of dependents (family size) to find out if they qualify. It is not necessary to fit into any special “category” (such as pregnancy, elderly, or disabled) to qualify for Free Care. You do not have to prove immigration or citizenship status to qualify for Free Care!
2. FREE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM
If you are having trouble paying for prescription medications and do not have health insurance or your insurance does not cover prescription drugs, a new program may offer some relief. To qualify, you must also be low-income and need the assistance of your doctor. Here’s what to do:
- When your doctor prescribes a medication that you or a dependent must take for more than a month, ask the doctor how much the drug costs. If you cannot afford the drug, tell your doctor you cannot afford it and ask him/her to help you obtain the drug through the drug manufacturer’s program.
- Give your doctor the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Help Line phone number (1-800-PMA-INFO) and then ask someone from the doctor’s office to call that number and ask for the drug manufacturer’s representative who will then outline the company’s procedure for obtaining the drug — different companies have different procedures but usually the doctor will either have a letter or fill out a form. Depending on the drug company, you may need to provide your doctor with information about your assets, insurance, family size, or income.
- Medicines are usually delivered to the doctor’s office. Your doctor is required to label the medicine properly and give you instructions for taking it.
- Some drug companies provide long-term users with identification cards (ID) or vouchers that can be used in local pharmacies. Ask your doctor about that possibility!
For more information, contact:
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL (HCFA)
30 Winter Street, #1007
Boston, MA 02108
TEL: (617) 350-7279 or 1-800-272-4232